When money is tight, something's gotta give. But how should you prioritize your bills for the least impact on your fiscal health? Our finance whiz, Rubina Ahmed-Haq, explains what to pay on time and what to let slide.
Pay on time. If you don't pay on time, your cable provider can shut off your service within that same month. This missed payment (and cancellation of service) will be reflected on your credit score. To reconnect the service, you will likely have to pay an installation fee and a late fee.
Pay on time. One-third of your credit score is based on your credit card payment history. Missing payments will make you look unreliable to lenders. Credit card companies are brutal when it comes to punishing customers that don't pay on time. They will continue to charge you interest and can put you card on hold if you miss even one payment date. Always make the minimum payment no matter what!
Let it slide. If you can't pay your gym membership, call immediately and have your account put on hold. Tell them you will pay the balance when you return to the gym but you're unable to pay your bill right now.
Let it slide. Most utility companies will not cut off your service after one missed payment. But make sure to call your provider up front to let them know what you plan to do and don't delay payment any longer than 90 days. There are also government programs available to help you pay your heating bill. Ask your gas company for details to find out if you qualify.
Pay on time. Outstanding parking tickets can hinder your ability to drive. Once you miss the payment due date, action is taken to get the payment, and you could end up in court and charged court fees as well. Pay your parking tickets right away (or file for an appeal immediately) so you don't forget about them.
Let it slide. As awkward as it may be, this is one payment that you might need to postpone indefinitely, depending on your financial situation. Be sensitive and make sure you talk to your friend about needing more time to pay off the loan and offer to make a partial payment if you can. Don't ruin your friendship over money.
Let it slide. Yes, it's true. If money is really tight and you need to make decisions based on the impact to your financial health, you should talk to your bank and ask to skip a mortgage payment. They will still charge you interest on the amount, and possibly a penalty as well, but by communicating that you're are having some money issues, they will usually forgive you once a year. Some banks even have a skip-a-payment option, where once a year, you can miss a mortgage payment without penalty.
Pay on time. When it comes to missed rent payments, a landlord has the law on his/her side. They can begin the eviction process the day after your rent is due. The process is long, and nothing will happen immediately, but once the ball is rolling, it's hard to stop it. Missed rent will also make it difficult for you to get a good reference and could lead to irritating letters from your local landlord and tenant board.